I discussed this in my post on 3 February Family History Writing Challenge - What's my plan?
I have decided to borrow an idea I saw +Alex Daw of the Family Tree Frog blog use in her final post for the February Photo Collage Festival (Fab Feb Photo Collage -Day 28). Alex made an assessment of the things she had learned from the challenge by answering the following questions:
- What have I learned?
- What have I achieved?
- Where have I been (if only virtually)?
- To do list
- Books I'd recommend are:
- Websites I'd recommend are:
What have I achieved?
At the end of January 2013, I made a pledge to write 500 words a day for The Family History Writing Challenge. Did I achieve this pledge? The honest answer is no, I did not manage to write 500 words a day. My Word file Fullerton_Project_Draft has 24,820 words, but I didn't write all of those during February. These 24,820 words consist mostly of transcriptions of documents arranged in a chronological order. In other words, I did not manage to write beautifully detailed and creative prose, but I did managed to (begin to) create a draft, an outline that will later become the family history when I add more life to it.
I took the one-source-at-a-time approach recommended by Carol Baxter in her book Family Tree Tips: Writing Interesting Family Histories. These were the steps I followed:
|A screenshot of my chronological outline in Microsoft Word.|
- Take one source document.
- Extract the data from that source document into Word in simple form (without worrying about how boring and factual it sounds in its first draft)
- Create a source citation and an entry in my bibliography for that source document.
- In a Fullerton Project folder in Evernote in a sub-folder called 'Source Analysis' I create a note for each source, with a source citation and questions about the source document and the background history.
- Make a note that I have extracted the information from that source document and move it to an appropriate folder on my computer hard drive.
- Move on to the next source document.
My 'Source Analysis' sub-folder now has 87 notes for the 87 source documents I looked at during February (certificates, photocopies of archival documents and newspaper articles).
|A screenshot of my 'Source Analysis' subfolder in Evernote. I have created one note for each source document.|
In the process of sorting through my Fullerton information on my computer hard drive I also came across other little bits of data relevant to my Fullerton writing project which didn't quite fit into my chronological Word document. So I created other sub-folders in my 'Fullerton Project' folder in Evernote including:
- 'People' (a place to store notes about other people related to the Fullerton story: neighbours, baptism sponsors, employees etc.)
- 'Kildare Immigrants to Victoria' (similar to the 'People' folder, a place to store references to other immigrants from County Kildare Ireland who came to Victoria)
- 'To Do: Images' (a place to store a copy of images I might use later when I create my book e.g. photographs from library collections found via Trove)
- 'To Do: Newspapers' (a place to store newspaper references I have not yet followed up)
- 'To Do: Archives' (a place to store references and ideas for further research in archives)
- 'To Do: Libraries' (a place to store references and ideas for further research in libraries - local, state, national, genealogy and historical societies)
- 'To Do: Places to Visit' (a place to store notes about ideas for location research e.g. cemeteries)
- 'To Do: Web' (a place to store ideas for further research online)
- 'To Do: Documents to Obtain' (a place to store reminders about documents I should obtain e.g. certificates)
- 'Plans' (chapter plans)
- 'Previous Writing' (previous writing relevant to my Fullerton project e.g. University assignments, blog posts, articles written for journals etc.)
- 'Timelines' (previous timelines I created)
- 'Style Sheets' (information about how to cite and analyse different sources)
- 'Bibliography' (source citations for all documents etc.)
- 'Writing Ideas' (notes about writing ideas from books, articles on the web etc.)
- 'Publishing Resources' (notes about publishing a family history book)
|This is a screenshot of the folder structure of my Fullerton Project information stored in Evernote.|
I need to find out how to sort sub-folders alphabetically.
I have also created two other main folders in Evernote called 'History Topics' and 'Repositories'.
What have I learned?
- To make more realistic word count pledges.
- I have a lot of information already, but there are still gaps in my knowledge.
- I should have started this organising and writing when I first started researching 10 years ago.
What tools have I used?
What do I still need to achieve (To Do)?
- I have found references to documents, books and places I had hoped to go to research but have not yet. I have stored all these ideas in 'To Do' folders in Evernote.
- I need to read lots and lots of history! Local, state, national, Irish, histories of immigration, histories of the Irish in Australia etc.
- I need to use newspapers and local histories to fill in the gaps in the story and bring it to life: e.g. events of the time, weather etc.
- I need to read more books on writing history and I need to practice writing in different creative styles.
- I need to keep motivated and keep writing.
- Carol Baxter's Family Tree Tips: Writing Interesting Family Histories
- Noeline Kyle's Writing Family History Made Very Easy
Recommend Websites:© 2013. Australian Genealogy Journeys by Aillin O'Brien is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia License.Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://ausgenjourneys.blogspot.com.au/p/copyright-terms.html.